Friday, January 10, 2014

Replacing the PlayStation 2 Slim Laser

Well, today I got the replacement laser ($8) in the mail for my PlayStation 2 along with a copy of Zone of the Enders ($4). Not content with just that, I went to Popeyes because...well..

Anyways, after that I headed to a local game store. Sadly, they had fallen to the pit that every game store falls into since I was there last. A messy store, slowly inflating prices, and employees who don't give a shit about you or the fact that you exist in some form. While I was there, I picked up a copy of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence ($8) and an official Sony memory card ($8). While the official Sony cards are only 8mb and the third party cards get a lot larger, I just don't trust my game saves on a Nyko card or anything like that. So what if the official cards have less space? At least it's probably not going to fuck up. Also, is Nyko even a company still?

Anyways, let's just jump in.

Before I get started, if you choose to use this post as a tutorial and you fuck up, I don't care. I'm not responsible. Don't bitch at me.

Also, sorry about the pictures. My only camera is my phone, and my lense has gotten a bit scratched over the past 4 years.

Good games are at stake...well, I hope they're good games. Also, more on that NES controller later.

To the far left, we have our replacement laser. Just a heads up; these lasers do have different models. I'm going to write this like it's the first time I got into this thing, but it isn't. If you want to replace your laser, you need to open up your console and get the part number off the laser so you can replace it with a similar model. Obvious first things first, let's get into this sucker.

Thankfully, that isn't paint. It's just a sticker. Thanks for your accurate depiction, camera.

This looks troubling at first. I thought it was going to be hard to get into it. Then again, that was a foolish thought because nothing is hard to get into if you've ever done some maintenance on an Apple product. There's actually just plain ass philips screws under those black plastic squares. Now, if you're looking at your PS2, you're probably noticing that there's a sticker covering one of those squares. That's how Sony checked for tampering for your warranty. You'll have to pull the sticker off to get access to the screw. A sticker seems like a pretty simplistic way to enforce your warranty, but that's what everyone still uses.

Easy enough.

There's nothing sticking the squares in place. You can just pop the pieces out with a flathead screwdriver. You should pull up six of these squares. Note that the rubber feet towards the back of the console ARE hiding screws. The two rubber feet towards the front of the console are not. Anyways, everyone and their dog should have a philips screwdriver of the right size to get these out. No problem.

Once you've removed your six screws, just flip the console back over and the top lifts right off.

The only console easier to take apart is probably the Dreamcast. Four philips screws, not hidden in any way.

Before we get all excited about that though, there's something we need to do with the replacement laser. You'll need a soldering iron for this part, but luckily there's no actual soldering involved. These replacement lasers have a point on them where there's soldering connecting some points to prevent static build up. I know this is common practice for Xbox 360 replacement lasers as well. 

The solder ball is circled (WOW). Remember when I said you don't need to have any soldering skills? Just heat up the iron and touch it to the solder ball. It'll come right off. If you're not sure if you did it well enough, it should look like a circle with two lines through it when you're done. If you bought a replacement laser, they'll probably have images showing you this on the eBay listing or some external website. Now we're actually ready to put in the laser.

We're not going to waste our time and remove the whole DVD drive, just the laser assembly. There's flex cables, and flex cables are Satan incarnate. Unfortunately, you will have to deal with a flex cable at least once when you're opening any electronic.

I'd recommend unscrewing the green circle first. Just lift the part straight up and it comes right off. The two red screws will release the circular rail that the laser slides on, so you can lift the laser assembly. DON'T JUST TRY TO RIP THE WHOLE THING OUT QUICKLY! We still have a flex cable involved, even though we're not tearing out the entire assembly. Anyways, look at where the flex cable connects to the laser. Part of the connector is white. This part is a latch which flips up. You must lift this latch to free the flex cable. Once you've done that, just reverse the steps. Put the flex cable into the new laser, close the latch, so on and so forth.

One note about that flex cable though...

That's not a dick.

If you didn't notice, that flex cable is glued down. There is a damn good reason it's glued down. If you lifted the flex cable from that metal and undid any glue at all, you really, really need to tape it back down. Why? The slim is SO fucking small, that the flex cable will bend up and scratch the disc if it's not glued down exactly where it's supposed to be. So, yeah. Maybe before you fully reassemble with the screws, just set the top on and put in a shitty CD or something to test it out. I caught this the first time I disassembled it just to get the laser part number and check out the insides.

Anyways, go ahead and reassemble. You should be good to go. Usually, I hit all of my console buys with some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. This one had someone's name written on it in permanent marker. Of course it's hard to see on a black console, so I didn't even try to take a picture.

I made that. I spent way too long trying to think of something for him to say.

Note that with the magic erasers, you shouldn't clean any part of the console that has a glossy finish. The magic erasers are sort of a gritty, sandpapery type thing. They will scratch glossy parts. The parts that have a matte finish will look brand new, though. If you start getting into collecting "retro" game consoles, magic erasers will become your favorite product.

Anyways, it's time for the moment of truth.

...and it works! 

So, the PlayStation 2 was $11.99 and the laser was $7.37 for a grand total of $19.36 (and about 15 minutes of work). Not bad at all when you consider it'll now be working like I bought it brand new, day one. It would've been more, but I already had a PlayStation 2 controller that my girlfriend bought at Goodwill with the PlayStation 1 she gave me. If you didn't know, PlayStation 2 controllers work in a PS1 and the opposite is also true. Obviously I'm not including the games and memory card either. It would be reasonable to me to include the memory card in that cost since it is sort of essential to using the system to its fullest extent.

One thing I've noticed since replacing the laser is that this sucker is LOUD. The fan is quiet, but just the sound the laser makes is really ridiculously loud. It's about as loud as the Dreamcast's laser...which is ridiculous. When I tried playing some PlayStation games on it and a DVD when I first got it, it was pretty quiet. I'd guess this was due to the laser just not working well and thus not functioning to its fullest.

One other thing I noticed is that just because the PlayStation 2 has an optical audio port doesn't mean games are going to support surround sound. I just happened to get two games that don't. Although Castlevania seems to think that Dolby Pro Logic II counts as "beautiful surround sound," I don't quite think that counts.

Time to take advantage of all that (not very) hard work!

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